Archives for the month of: May, 2011


For their 2011 iteration of the California Cougar Convention, event organizers chose a convention center befitting the dignity of their celebration: a bar next to a Goodwill in a San Bruno strip mall. Getting there from the BART station required a walk through the Chuck E. Cheese’s’ parking lot and across a highway four lanes wide in both directions. We battled a wind so fierce that we almost missed my favorite welcome sign, seen by all incoming passengers to SFO: “South San Francisco: The Industrial City.”

I’d managed to recruit three friends for this project without even directing them to, the “world’s largest non-profit for singles,” and probably also the first to include the phrase “vise versa” in its mission statement. The website promised a speech by Ms. Cougar 2010, the selection and crowning of Ms. 2011, and a raging dance party from 9 – midnight.

We entered the bar and were steered through a labyrinthine series of doors, bars, and empty ballrooms to a back dance hall. A man with a mustache immediately requested a lot of contact information, which should have scared me a lot more than it did at the time. Then he opened the doors, calling out apologetically, “I’ve got lots and lots of people coming!” as we entered.

Ms. 2010- Amy Luna- was in the midst of a speech that would have called into question the fundamental assumptions of cougar-ism, had there been more than 35 people in the room at time. At the very least, it was one of the most accomplished and subtle feats of rhetoric ever spoken in a suburban bar. She used phrases like “sex positive” to insist on the ability of women to take ownership of their own careers, relationships, and sex drives.

I have boundless respect for this woman

In the second half of her speech, she urged men to be “Sherlock, not Sherman” in the bedroom, bringing the curiosity of a detective rather than a “battle plan.” She also elaborated on a six step method to P.L.E.A.S.E. your cougar or cub:



Endogenous Zone




It was only later that I looked at Amy’s bio and saw that, in addition to being named 2010 Miss Cougar International, she was the owner of two dance companies as well as a “certified rescue scuba diver, motorcyclist, nature and wildlife photographer and member of American Mensa, the high IQ society.” 

Needless to say 2011 had big shoes to fill, which is probably why said mustached organizer of the event had devised a very sophisticated selection process involving the petition and collection of plastic coins by cougars from cubs (their man prey, each of whom had one doubloon). You’d expect that the cougars would have to do the heavy lifting. But because there were, to be generous, 20 women in the room, half of whom who claimed to have been dragged there by friends they now hated, most people in attendance barely budged.

My friends and I decided to buck the trend and take initiative. One of us talked to a cute lady who was dressed for the tea party in Alice in Wonderland and  appeared to be about 4/5 of the way to becoming a centenarian. She seemed generally confused about her whereabouts and when my friend handed her his coin, she asked him what it was for.

All the queen's men

All the queen’s men

Meanwhile, I spoke to a woman in a red dress who had started her own cleaning company at age 19. When I gave her my token, she looked up at me like I was that guy who pays for a coffee with dimes and nickels.

Finally, after ten minutes of collective cross-armed faux-texting navel-gazing, our winner was announced. Kimerly Marsh, 48 year-old divorced mother of two, had won paid passage on the 2011 Cougar Cruise and a five night stay at a resort called Hedonism II, where, if she got lucky, she might meet the studs featured in that resorts’ Men of Hedonism 2011 calendar.

Chris Merritt’s “She Wolf”

And the night, if not the crowd, was still young…



It's fun to parkour every time you want to pee

If you’re like me, and spent your six months in San Francisco living in a room so small that a simple midnight walk from bed to bathroom involved Bond-like feats of agility, you understand the desperation of people trying to find housing in this city.

We’re no New York, where millionaires brag about owning a full bathtub but still look to Flint, Michigan, and marvel at the fact that our rent could be a down payment on a home where my bedroom would serve as a walk-in shoe closet.

So I get the desperation of the people who responded to my ad on craigslist promising sweeping bay views, communal rituals, group showers, and a “buddy system.” I was talking, of course, about living in prison, on Alcatraz Island–an offer last available, I pointed out, in 1963.

In the approximately 36 hours before craigslist flagged the post for removal, I got no fewer than eight responses. One came from a retired journalist writing for unexplained reasons on behalf of his 21 year old son, whom he described, in a proud hyphen-happy endorsement as “a great kid, no bad record, out-standing arts-student.”

Jo the Merman of Alcatraz

Then there was Jo. “PLEASE LOOK NO FURTHER….I HAVE ALREADY STARTED PACKING!!” he wrote with an eagerness so endearing that it was already starting to annoy me. “THE ONLY PROBLEM IS THAT IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!”

Jo wasn’t just big on caps lock; he also believed in learning from others. “HOW TOTALLY BORING IF WE ALL LOOKED ALIKE, THOUGHT ALIKE, DID ALIKE!!!” he asked, or rather, exclaimed.   “ALSO WE CAN LEARN FROM ONE ANOTHER AND NOT JUST “DRY OUT”” That last part confused me until I realized that Jo was a merman.

  “Yo man. I got an idea.”


  “Bro, lets go on a bike ride.”

  “Bike ride? That’s alright. I’ll go get-“

  “Nah man. On my bike.”

  “But what am I supposed to ride?”

  “My bike.”


  “…I don’t know man. It’s a little…”

  “A little what?”

  “I mean, who’s going to…”

“You peddle.”

“How come I gotta peddle?”

“Are you going to keep asking me questions or are  are we going to ride?”

“I mean I guess…”

“Great. Awesome. Let’s ride.”

“I feel like everyone’s watching us.”

“No one’s watching.”

“That dude just took a picture.”

“Nah, man. No one’s taking pictures. You’re ass is paranoid.”

“He took out his camera and took a picture.”

“Bro, you need to chill you out and keep peddling.”

“‘Cause I don’t want that shit on Facebook or Myspace or the internet.”

“Just keep peddling.”

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A few months ago when my apartment was looking for someone to sublet a room, I thought it might be funny to capitalize on the tight housing market and the thousands of desperate renters by making an offer no one could refuse. Shockingly, I didn’t get a single response, but I’ve made some changes to the ad and am hoping to get a reaction out of that cesspool that is craigslist. Hopefully ‘Fun On Craigslist’ will evolve into a regular feature on this site. Here’s my first attempt at it:

Click pic to play. Happy Judgment Day.

Click Here to View The Video Titled: Steaming City

My good friend and roomate over at Kentucky Boy Cooking has embarked on an ambitious, some might say revolutionary technique for deep frying pickles and garnishing them with a homemade ranch dressing. It’s a formula as old as the Kentucky hills where it was first fixed by Kentucky Boy’s memaw and improved by generations of kin–the kind of legacy you can taste in the batter.

I’ve seen the mad scientist at work, and it’s been a real pleasure. The man just ordered 15 gallons–gallons!–of local pickles from a very confused wholesaler. And he just arrived in our house with a box bearing 12 loaves of organic bread. He had actually biked a good half mile in San Francisco this box perched on his handlebars. He is currently using our oven to roast 150 slices of bread crumbs and then blasting them with a hair dryer. For the record, this is now the second time in my house that someone has used a hairdryer to dry food.

Clearly you’d be a fool to sleep on an opportunity to see Kentucky Boy in action. The New York Times even profiled this event, so you’d look pretty stupid if you didn’t go. World, be his guinea pig this Saturday night at the Underground Market at Public Works! You won’t regret it.

Sometimes I go out on to our porch and gaze up at the blazing night sky, or, more accurately, a tenement staircase blocking the view of the sky. After thoroughly inspecting my seat for pigeon shit and the floorboards above me for dog urine, I sit down to muse over the big questions: what are some good topics for blog posts, and why is there a Cinderella record stapled to our fence?

And sometimes in these moments mother nature hands you a gift.  Today, for instance, I found a couple of pigeon eggs nestled beneath our water heater. I think we can all agree that pigeons are some of the foulest, most diabolical creatures on God’s green earth. I bet not even their babies are cute. The question at hand is, what should we do about the eggs?

Personally I’d like to speed along Darwinism, but maybe that’s not fair. Maybe we should vote on it, and give those pigeons a chance, this being America and all.

Early thoughts:

-Sneak them into Mike Tyson’s omlet

-Market to Whole Foods as eco-urban fresh-foraged niche product

-Pigeon-egg Arnold’s hummer.

Frankly I don’t really want to touch them because their mother keeps giving me crazy eyes whenever I go near. But if you have thoughts, do pass them along.

Early ’90’s aesthetic: 5 points, +2 for each pair of white sneakers

Dancing on top and sides buses: 5 points x 2 hyphy doublizer

Ethnic credibility: 10 points for awareness of Bollywood dance culture, opportunity to talk about forthcoming Indian backpacking trip/curry purchased at un-Yelped hole in the wall

Relative YouTube obscurity: 10 points, minus 2 for each view million view more

Top comment registering hatred for Justin Beiber: -4 points. Joke’s a year old. Shows that video popularity has crossed threshold into suburbs, where all good ideas go to die.

By my count, that’s…ehh, counting’s a lot of work. Lets call it a Pitchfork 7.9/10, which is practically a Rolling Stones 10.

It’s 7:30 on Sunday morning and not even the church-goers are out. I’m biking down an empty Valencia Street wearing a swami, earth-toned robe and tattered garden Levis. I’ve got a packet of rainbow feathers in my back pocket and a blue bandanna beneath my helmet. By the time I get to Market Street, I start spotting Osama’s and Team Sixes, Angry Birds, grown men in onesies, and robots.  I’m late to a party.

Every May San Francisco hosts a race called Bay to Breakers and oh man is it a shit-show. It’s a West Coast Mardi Gras, a silly, indulgent parade of boozed-up nudists, sorority girls, man divas, and parents who still have it. Anyone who is anyone is there, and they could be drunk to the point of nausea.

There were rumors that the powers that be were sick of the circus and going to combat all the bare-assed debauchery with something called sobriety tents–a claim that proved to be a made-up PR fairy tale. There were house parties on every other stoop, public urination behind any available alcove, and Stormtroopers dancing on balconies.

Amidst all of the debate over whether or not the race is a cherished expression of SF weird or just another instance of Yay Area Residents’ refusal to mature, one thing is clear: this is not your father’s gentrified Boston Marathon. Although all be damned if, somewhere in that rabble and rubble, a Moroccan man and a Kenyan woman didn’t steal the cake with a 35 and 39 minute 12ks.

This SF Chronicle article has some choice quotes from the revelers:

-“The best costume I’ve seen is a shirtless pregnant woman with her bulge painted like Spiderman’s six-pack.”

-“‘This year is the best because they have all these laws but everyone’s been breaking the laws,’ Zakloswski said, before asking a reporter for Jello shots. (He had none.)”

-“[Sargent J. Daniels’] favorite costume was a group of people dressed as salmon who ran “upstream” along the racecourse against the flow of thousands of runners.”